Tag Archives: President Bush Olympics

Ralph Lauren Olympic Uniform Controversy: Polo Pony Logo the Issue (Size Does Matter.)

Hello sports and fashion fans, tis’ The Princess once again on this beautiful Tuesday. Actually, it is that oh-so-silly Princess, for having thought we would be able to spend most of this post reveling in celebratory and fun things, like the sweet joy of these boys’ accomplishments…

Team USA Gold Medalists, from left Jason Lezak, Mark Phelps, Garrett Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones

Team USA Gold Medalists, from left Jason Lezak, Mark Phelps, Garrett Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones

…as they they managed to upset France in the 4x100m freestyle relay, setting a new world record in the process. And perhaps the sweetest part of the victory for some was not just that we won, but who we beat along the way, for it is Alain Bernard, of the French team who is said to have made some statements that were well, they weren’t very sporting.

“The Americans? We’re going to smash them. That’s what we came here for.”

Well. When it didn’t work out that way with the French Team ending up as Silver Medalists (certainly nothing to sneeze at, it *is* an Olympic medal, oui?) but behind Team USA who took the Gold, with Jason Lezak going head to head with Bernard on the last leg of the race. 32-year-old Jason Lezak, the ‘old man’ of Team USA swimmers, who trains himself.

Let the record show that while Mr. Bernard’s own teammates appeared too stunned to do much of anything in the immediate aftermath of the race, it was Michael Phelps who took the time to both congratulate and console the Frenchman. It should also be noted that it was Mr. Phelps who made the initial gesture of congratulation to each of the four French team members after the Medal ceremony concluded.

Michael Phelps, Team USA (L). Alain Bernard, France (R)

Michael Phelps, Team USA (L), Alain Bernard, France (R)

There was quite the little gathering of celebrities on hand at the Water Cube to watch the race, most from the world of business and politics. Bill Gates was in the stands, as was former Olympic Grand Pooh-Bah (Salt Lake City) / former Mass. Governor & Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. The First Family, including the Fan-in-Chief were on hand to cheer for Team USA Swimming:

The First Family Cheers on Team USA at the Water Cube 8.10.08

The First Family Cheers on Team USA at the Water Cube 8.10.08


Okay, enough of the one thing everyone hypothetically came to Beijing to accomplish, the athletic competition. We’ll move on to something that is rapidly progressing beyond the hackneyed “tempest in Great Grandmother’s Teapot,” to the issue of the Ralph Lauren Polo pony logo on the official Team USA Opening Ceremony Parade uniforms.

To refresh or enlighten anyone’s knowledge of the increasingly sensitive issue, here is a shot of Charlotte Craig, Team USA Taekwondo in her Opening Ceremony Parade uniform. (If you need more photos of the Ralph Lauren designed uniforms, here is another post on them, or here is additional info in yet another post on the topic, which yes, we have covered to death.) The photo below effectively shows the pony under discussion.

Charlotte Craig, Team USA Taekwondo

Charlotte Craig, Team USA Taekwondo

As does this photo of Jason Kidd in the Opening Ceremony Parade of Nations, with a little tighter shot that allows for a better comparison between its size and that of the USA/Olympic Rings logo topped by the USOC Wreaths.

Jason Kidd, Team USA Basketball

Jason Kidd, Team USA Basketball

At the least it helps provide put the two logos in context as compared to each other, the Polo pony in relationship to the Olympic Rings. Below, we see Brianna Glenn in a close shot of the Closing Ceremony Parade Uniform with the more robust emblematic Seal logo. (For lack of a name or description.)

Brianna Glenn (L)

Brianna Glenn (L)

In this photo (courtesy Polo Ralph Lauren) on the right on the two-shot montage we see the four athletes Deontay Wilder – Boxing, Brianna Glenn (did not qualify for Olympics, Track & Field), Joy Fahrenkrog – Archery, Giuseppe Lanzone – Rowing. As indicated these are the more casual Closing Ceremony uniforms. In fact, you can now purchase most, if not all, pieces the Team will be wearing, at the Polo Ralph Lauren site or through the USOC site.


Evidently size matters. A great deal. To some people. Not all. To others it is clearly not even a topic of conversation. ‘What’s the problem?”

For those to whom this is an issue, the words being used to describe the Polo Pony logo include: “Ginormous,” “Supersized,” and “Huge.” Here is a sampling of a couple of online headlines on the topic, the first from the Huffington Post, the second from Gawker:

Ralph Lauren’s Olympics Uniforms: A Firestorm Of Controversy Ensues

~ Did Ralph Lauren Embarrass America? ~

The story from Gawker.com, ran yesterday:

“For starters, the damned Ralph Lauren Polo logo totally upstages the Olympic rings logo. It’s huge!”

Also, as shown in a picture after the jump, the uniforms look pretty cheap up close, probably because they were made as part of a rush job sent to Chinese “tailors” at the last minute.

Of course, if there were any embarrassment, technically Mr. Lauren didn’t ’cause it,’ the USOC created it by approving the logo itself, it’s placement and its size on every item of clothing or accessory to be worn by anyone in the US Delegation attending the Games in an official capacity.

Ralph Lauren Team USA Official Parade Uniform

Ralph Lauren Team USA Official Parade Uniform

The story then goes on to quote material on the same topic from the increasingly popular Project Rungay (that is not a typo) blog, so we’ll just quote directly from Project Rungay’s story:

“We’re not sure why so many people have been slamming these. They look fine to us, for what they are. A little cheap-looking, sure, but appropriate enough.

We’re not all that crazy about the caps (we honestly think baseball caps would have worked better) and it would have been nice to differentiate a little bit between the men and the women, but for the most part, it’s classic American sportswear, which makes it perfect for the venue – and, unlike a LOT of the looks we saw parading around the other night, it’s tasteful.”

As the NY Times noted in their fabulous Olympic blog ‘Rings‘:

“PARADE OF SLOVENLINESS If you thought Americans were talking a lot about the size of the Ralph Lauren logo on the U.S. Olympians’ outfits as they entered the Bird’s Nest during the opening ceremony in Beijing on Friday, it’s nothing compared with what people in other countries are saying about their respective teams’ clothes, demeanor and general appearance.”

Then we have Racked LA asking a question in addition to making a statement:

“Did logo inflation perturb your opening ceremony viewing experience?”

“Lest we forget that Ralph Lauren has created an entire Big Pony collection for men and women, in which the logo is absolutely ginormous! Over-sized at breast or back jean pocket, a logo festival! Which is to say it could’ve been worse in terms of brand promotion overwhelming team spirit.”

The folks over at American Politics Journal are not feeling a lot of love for the Lauren look. You may have discerned this from looking at their version of the logo on the blazers as seen below, perhaps more appropriately called the Pony logo on steroids after a some Photoshop work or another image editing program. Their headline to the story by Jeff Koopersmith is:

Ralph Lauren Humiliates America

American Politics Journal Image

“August 9, 2008 – Geneva (apj.us) – Ralph Lauren, the emperor of hushed prep chic, shocked countless millions last night as the world watched the never-ending parade of athletes during the opening ceremonies of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium.

Lauren – and most likely his son David – celebrated not the spirit of athletic competition but themselves and their brand, morphing our athletes into unpaid billboards for the “Polo™” pony and rider that has helped bring the Laurens great – and well deserved – riches.

What I find amazing is that Polo Ralph Lauren has already known for more than two years that upscale consumers are shying away from too-obviously logoed products…. So why did Polo Ralph Lauren go and embarrass us all by not just putting their logo on the clothes but putting in on SO BIG? The white Polo logo against the dark blue navy color of the jackets, because of its tactlessness seemed to a foot high and 6 inches wide on the breast pockets.”

To be fair to all involved Mr. Koopersmith makes several positive points about Ralph Lauren, his philanthropic efforts, etc., but the remainder of the article is fairly pointed. To read it in its entirety, just click here.

From Coutortoure,

“The Ralph Lauren uniforms for the American Olympic team are stirring up controversy because they look waspy and the logo is a little too big. If product placement and unabashed self-interest disguised as team spirit aren’t American, we don’t know what is.”

For another perspective, you may want to read WASP Nation: The U. S. Olympic Team Uniform, a fascinating post on the Style Snatcher blog. We excerpt a sample below.

“The other troubling point was the overt branding seen in the Lauren logo, which shared prominence with the Olympic rings and laurel. Was this a celebration of an athletic event or yet another chance at extended marketing? Who allows these things to occur? This transcended product placement and smacked of rah-rah commercialism.”

Regular blog readers know The Princess has a rare and progressive disease: logophobia. And they have exhibited rare patience and grace in tolerating such foaming at the mouth off-the-wall rants in never-ending post after post about the presence of logos, their size, their design, etc, etc., etc. And our thoughts on this particular issue? Two words. Too big. The Polo pony is simply too big. Frequent readers are also aware that we have 16+ years in television, in addition to expertise in marketing and branding. We get it. This could have been done in a smaller, more discreet way. If the size of the pony was a deal-breaker, than do the far more elegant tone-on-tone embroidery, if the idea truly was to celebrate an old school American look.

Because we can assure you, no ‘old money’ person would be caught dead in a golf shirt, polo shirt or any other piece of apparel with that symbol on it, let alone in that size at places like the Saddle and Cycle Club, or Burning Tree, or the Metropolitan Club, Winged Foot, River Oaks CC, or the Everglades Club. Wouldn’t happen. It’s a gross violation about everything that is old money, including the #1 Commandment: For God’s sake, don’t let anyone know you have it! Nope. This crowd would be at J.Press or Brooks or Murray’s, Patrick James, J. McLaughlin, Van Boven’s… you know the drill.

An embarrassment to America? We think not. An international  incident? Ah, no. A poor decision by the USOC in allowing ther logo to be that large? In our humble opinion, yes. Without question. But this is really not worth getting all lathered up about, folks, there are better ways to expend that energy than on this issue. 

BTW, if you are hopeful of a respite from the Polo pony logo on the Closing Ceremony uniforms, we are sorry to disappoint you, for it is equally large. The shirt below is from the Closing Ceremony group the Team USA members will be wearing.

Giuseppe Lanzone, Team USA Rowing
Giuseppe Lanzone, Team USA Rowing

Below we see Team USA Soccer players July 22nd preparing to leave for Beijing at the super-secret San Jose State University location selected by official. Christie Rampone, (l)eft, and Carli Lloyd are in the as yet to be publicly seen Official Ralph Lauren knit vests. According to a story in the San Jose Mercury News.

“The Olympic athletes are here, being “processed” for China, picking up their visas, posing for team photos and, perhaps most vital of all, being fitted by a battery of local tailors for the Ralph Lauren uniforms they will wear during the Games’ opening ceremonies Aug. 8.”

Team USA Soccer Christie Rampone, (L) & Carli Lloyd (R)

Team USA Soccer Christie Rampone, (L) & Carli Lloyd (R)

Here are the Ralph Lauren sketches for the Closing Ceremony Parade Uniforms.

Below we see Kate Markgraf of Team USA Soccer in the official Nike warm-up outfits that seem to be flying under the radar, don’t they?

Kate Markgraf Team USA Soccer

Kate Markgraf Team USA Soccer

Kate Markgraf Team USA Soccer

Kate Markgraf Team USA Soccer

Here is a closer look at the Nike Beijing Village Jacket & pants also provided to the team, complete with the swoosh on the left chest. Proportionately, is it pretty close in size to the Polo pony?

Oddly, we haven’t heard much about this one yet, although part of the issue for some is that the Opening Ceremony is to be respected as a more solemn, formal occasion. Hhhhmm, perhaps more to follow.

Well TP has had enough of this dreary discussion haven’t you? The next post will be much more fun and frivolous.


Filed under It's Just Not Done, Logos, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle

President Bush at the Olympics, Rafa & Roger do Tennis, the Lancome ‘Whoops’, Manly Makeup?

Hello-Hello and Happy Monday to everyone! We do hope all enjoyed their break from the weekday world, be it at home or away at the coast, the cottage, the cabin. Even if only in the mind, an escape is so vital.

So much has been going on at the Olympics *and* elsewhere, it is hard keeping track of it all, at least for The Princess! Has anyone seen any of the photographs of President Bush in Beijing at the varying functions and then the actual sporting events? From an etiquette perspective, it would appear that being Commander-in-Chief is fairly easy at most venues. As always, the First Lady is perfectly attired, gracious and graceful.

President Bush Opening Ceremony

President Bush Opening Ceremony

First Lady Laura Bush

First Lady Laura Bush

President Bush & USA Softball Team

President Bush & USA Softball Team

It occurs to us however, it’s tough looking Presidential when you decide to do the Beach Volleyball appearance. Did we mention it was the Women’s Team?

And then the difficulties grow exponentially when it comes time for the picture-taking, for you know everyone wants their photograph taken with the President. Oh dear. This is where we ask, just who in the Protocol office thought this would be manageable?

President Bush with Kerri Walsh (L) & Misty May-Treanor

President Bush with Kerri Walsh (L) & Misty May-Treanor

President Bush with Kerri Walsh (L) & Misty May Trainor (R)

President Bush with Kerri Walsh (L) & Misty May Treanor (R)

Okay, the President with women in bikinis, not frequently seen, but acceptable. Until this.

President Bush & Team USA's Misty May-Trainor

President Bush & Team USA's Misty May-Treanor

You can tell by the look on his face and awkward placement of his arms he knows this is going nowhere good.

President Bush & Misty May-Trainor, Team USA Volleyball

President Bush & Misty May-Treanor, Team USA Volleyball

Not. A. Good. Idea. Life’s a beach. Indeed.

We also had tennis today. After yesterday’s disastrous weather conditions.


***The next portion of today’s post features photos and RESULTS from Tennis matches played today, Monday, 8.11.08 ***

Let’s talk a little tennis shall we? They have just been dropping like flies when it comes to the Women’s Singles Tennis competition at the Beijing Olympics with yesterday’s withdrawal of top-seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia because of an injured right thumb.

In a news conference announcing her withdrawal Ivanovic said she hasn’t even hit a ball since arriving in Beijing. Her withdrawal comes in addition to those of Russian Maria Sharapova (seen below in Montreal below prior to withdrawing from that event) and American Lindsay Davenport (below, 2nd photo), the 1996 Gold Medalist. Ms. Davenport, an original prep by birth (First clue? Dad’s name is Wink), is still hoping to play in the Women’s Doubles Championship.

Lindsay Davenport, Team USA Tennis

Lindsay Davenport, Team USA Tennis

American James Blake won his first match, but the rains delayed most others yesterday, including Roger Federer’s opener. Mr. Federer made up for any lost time today, handily beating Russian Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-2.

Roger Federer vs. Dmitry Tursunov

Roger Federer vs. Dmitry Tursunov

The fan favorite said afterward to a UPI reporter:

“This tournament is the one I base my year around so I hope I can play well here,” Federer said. “It would mean as much as winning a Grand Slam. I’ve won so many Grand Slams and the Olympics only comes around every four years. I love playing for my country, so this is a great start.”

After the match Federer was congratulated by one of the spectators, LeBron James from Team USA Basketball. Rafa Nadal did not have as easy a go of it, dropping one set to Italy’s Potito Starace, but still winning his match. One of the spectators watching his match was Prince Felipe of Spain.

Rafael Nadal, Spain

Rafael Nadal, Spain

In a story in today’s Times (NY) it’s clear the weather had an impact on the Spaniard:

Nadal was far from comfortable in the clammy air. After the match he was asked the standard question about pollution. “The problem is the humidity,” he said, “I haven’t felt the pollution.”

The big surprise was Andy Murray of Great Britain being upset by Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan in the first round. In Women’s Singles, American Serena Williams made it to the second round besting Olga Govortsova 6-3, 6-1 in a match that was interrupted on Sunday because of the rain.

BTW, the ITF evidently has a heart, or at the very least a thermometer. ITF President Francesco Ricci Bittis announced this weekend that if the weather reaches “… an unacceptable level” players can take breaks.

“The conditions are not the best, but our players are very strong. What is important is the health of the player.”

Currently the ATF does *not* allow male players to take breaks either regular tour or Grand Slam events. As is so frequently the case, it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. We are already wilting.

Because of the Olympic news usurping so much space in the blog a number of things have been languishing out there in the virtual ‘Pending” file, so we’ll share a few. We start with the following email we received from Lancôme:

Oh. Well then, never mind. In the event you don’t have your name on the list to be notified when the Lancôme Oscillation Mascara is back in stock, just go to the page and provide your email… if you don’t mind being updated on all other things Lancôme in the interim.

Gentlemen, as we are speaking of mascara, TP wants you to know we don’t discriminate here at Preppy Princess InterGalactic HQ, no sirree! (No, that is not the misspelled name of a toddler.) Here is your chance to pop on over to the other side of the pond and grab your own tubeof the aptly named “Manscara” from the good folks at Superdrug.

“‘Manscara’ an eyelash and brow gel for men. With it’s totally clear formula, manscara gel subtly defines lashes and tames wayward brows.”

This, of course, is not a joke, nor is it something we made up and asked The Princess Consort to Photoshop for us in his spare time. We only wish we could name the blog where we originally saw this mentioned in order to give proper credit where it is due. At any rate, if the Manscara doesn’t do it for you, or if you want to enhance its effects, then you should go for the Guyliner. By all means, don’t hold back on account of the exchange rate, buy both. At only £4.50, you can do it, c’mon.

This soft, smooth kohl pencil can give an accurate, subtle defined look to the contour of the eye, making them appear larger, more distinct and seductive, is he or isn’t he wearing it? Or smudged, it can be more dramatic for a grungy rock-star look.

Indeed. This one is peaking the AntiPrep-O-Meter in the red zone and TSU (The Spousal Unit, aka TPC, The Princess Consort) has broken out in hives.

BTW, there is some not insignificant chatter about the Ralph Lauren Polo pony logo on the Team USA Opening Ceremony Uniforms. We’ll be back later with a bit on that….until then, grins & giggles.

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Filed under 2008 Beijing Olympics, It's Just Not Done, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, preppy lifestyle, The AntiPrep